The Day after the leadership spill precipitated by Tony Abbott’s “Captain’s Pick” of Prince Phillip for a Knighthood, Abbott fronted the ABC for an interview with Leigh Sales. The interview was difficult for Abbott as Leigh Sales asked some very direct questions on the 7:30 Report. Towards the end of the interview she changed tack to ask him some direct and possibly more personal questions, such as, “Who are you? What do you stand for? Which Tony Abbott are you?”
Now the later part of the interview contained what I think from Leigh was a very insightful question. If I may dare to presume, his avoidance of that question reveals quite a lot about him. This is a question that anyone with a clear set of values would be able to answer. Having a clear moral compass helps to build capacity for empathy and comprehension of the emotional consequences of their actions on others. Even having a shred of internal insight might enable one to comprehend another’s emotional responses. So perhaps insight into “who he is”, is simply not that available to him. The question “Who are you?” speaks to his insight into himself. His lack of answer tells you what so many people have already discerned. His moral vacuum and authoritarianism are already self evident. His constant blinking when being challenged is indicative of his sensitivity to criticism. The “captains Picks” (and there were more than two of them) from the paid Parental Leave Scheme, the issue of dames & knighthoods, knighting a Prince, moving forward the spill meeting are all examples of impulsive behavior, that is not grounded in a clear set of values. As for being a manipulative liar, well not only did Leigh raise the lies but Abbott in the interview immediately identified the most talked about ones, without being specifically prompted, and began making excuses for them. I think no one is going to argue rationally that he hasn’t lied to and mislead the Australia people. Essentially Leigh is exposing the character of our Leader. It is an excellent question to ask given the history of characteristics that have been established. She is not identifying what is right or wrong with his policies. They have been argued for months on end. It’s his policies that have landed him in this mess. What she is identifying by these questions, is what sort of man we have as a leader.
Short of a medical diagnosis, a number of articles have arisen asking the question “Is Tony Abbott a sociopath?“ such as the one by Alison Parkes, and Psychologist, Lyn Bender, has already examined Abbott’s duplicitous character in an attempt to remotely profile him in her article “What if Abbott and his cronies are just a bunch of psychopaths?”. If indeed, either is true, it would appear that Leigh Sales’s question to Tony Abbott is certainly a query that would be useful in diagnosis of either.